UBS CEO Ermotti: Frankfurt new destination? Maybe

400Swiss bank UBS is weighing up whether to move banking jobs in London to Frankfurt, Madrid or Amsterdam to cope with Britain's planned departure from the European Union, Chief Executive Sergio Ermotti said in an interview with CNBC.

With around 5,000 employees based in London, Switzerland’s largest lender has been preparing contingency plans even before British citizens, in a referendum, voted to leave the EU in June 2016.

"I think Frankfurt is a location of choice. There are different, other locations that could come into consideration," Ermotti said in the interview broadcast on Monday, according to a transcript.

"I think about Amsterdam, I think about Madrid. In different shape or forms, things that at the end of the day, as we speak we are narrowing down really the options."

And he added that the swiss giant will make a decision by the end of the summer or the early part of the fourth quarter.

Financial services firms need a regulated subsidiary in an EU country to offer products across the bloc which means some are looking to move jobs out of Britain if it loses access to the European single market.

Frankfurt has been mooted as a possible destination for UBS jobs that move from London because last year it set up a bank there to consolidate most of its European wealth management operations.

But other European cities, including Madrid and Amsterdam, are competing to attract bankers if they move from London.

In April, Deutsche Bank warned it could relocate many of its trading and investment-banking assets – involving up to 4,000 UK jobs or nearly half of its UK manpower – to Frankfurt and other EU centers.

Ermotti also said clients at UBS's flagship wealth management division have shown a greater willingness to invest more of their money in the last five months. "It's clear if I look at the cash balances as a percentage of wealth we manage, they have been coming down from the high-20s to around the mid-20s," he said.

Talking about SNB policy and negative rates Ermotti explained that negative rates "today is also time to consider the negative effect of negative rates. As I say, it is going to be very difficult at this stage for the Swiss National Bank to move away from this policy without the ECB moving first. And so we need, you know, we need now to wait and see how the ECB is performing."




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